Why Am I Getting Urinary Tract Infections?

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Why Am I Getting Urinary Tract Infections?

Ever since I started having sex I get urinary tract infections very frequently. Does that mean there could be something else wrong?
- Mandy*

If you have burning or pain on urination, it could be a number of things. One possibility is a urinary tract infection (UTI), but other possibilities include a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as chlamydia, or just chemical irritation from a spermicide. It is difficult to tell the difference without seeing a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Urinary tract infections tend to be more common in girls who have sex. Often, UTIs are the result of bacteria entering the urethra.

Following these steps will help you to decrease the chance of developing UTIs:

  • Don't touch your vagina with anything that has been in contact with your anus (this includes condoms, toilet paper, fingers, etc.).
  • Wipe front to back after going to the bathroom.
  • Pee immediately before and after sex.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

STDs can have symptoms similar to those of a UTI. Depending on the organism causing it (and how your body reacts), you could have burning, vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, irregular bleeding, or other signs.

Many times, though, STDs have few symptoms, which is why it is important for anyone who has had sex to be tested. And always use condoms with any type of sex to help prevent STDs.

In any case, the best thing to do is get checked out ASAP by a doctor or nurse practitioner who can look for the reason you're having symptoms. It's really important to get the right diagnosis and treatment!

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: March 2011

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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